In a mountain village in the Dominican Republic, a team of mission volunteers from Illinois stood by a lean-to café and shared the gospel. They were scheduled to be renovating a building that will house a new church. But a dispute over the building had left it padlocked that day. So the team improvised, holding an outdoor worship service where people came to Christ.
“The gospel is relevant, whether you’re in Albion, Ill., or Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, or some other country,” said Illinois pastor Nathaniel Trowbridge. He’d held that belief before his trip to the Dominican Republic—his first time out of the country. But seven days in the DR solidified the conviction, he said, “that the gospel is relevant, and that it is the power of God for salvation.”
Trowbridge, pastor of Samaria Missionary Baptist Church in Albion, was in the DR as part of a partnership between his association, Greater Wabash, and Ramon Ortiz, a local pastor and church planter. The February trip also included volunteers from other Illinois Baptist churches.
The padlocked building was in the village of Clavijo, where Ortiz is planning to start a new congregation. Once their plans changed, the group, which included Greater Wabash Director of Missions Brent Cloyd, went to each house in the village, sharing the gospel and praying for people. They also visited a private school to deliver backpacks sent by Greater Wabash churches. The association collected 150 backpacks for schoolchildren in the DR.
Before the team left, Cloyd, who also visited the DR last year, explained the purpose of engaging in missions.
“It challenges our thinking. It gives us a greater awareness of the world. It helps us to think beyond ourselves,” he wrote in the Greater Wabash associational newsletter.
“My experience has been that going on missions [trips] has drawn me closer to Christ and given me fresh zeal to live for Christ and be a servant of Christ. I hope and pray and believe that it will have done that for everyone who has gone on this mission trip.”